chew / choō/ • v. [tr.] bite and work (food) in the mouth with the teeth, esp. to make it easier to swallow: he was chewing a mouthful of toast | [intr.] he chewed for a moment, then swallowed. ∎ gnaw at (something) persistently, typically as a result of worry or anxiety: he chewed his lip reflectively | [intr.] she chewed at a fingernail. • n. a repeated biting or gnawing of something. ∎ something other than food that is meant for chewing: a dog chew | a chew of tobacco. PHRASES: chew the cudsee cud. chew the fat (or rag) inf. chat in a leisurely way, esp. at length.PHRASAL VERBS: chew someone out inf. reprimand someone severely. chew something over discuss or consider something at length. chew something up chew food until it is soft or in small pieces. ∎ damage or destroy something as if by chewing: the bikes were chewing up the paths. DERIVATIVES: chew·a·ble adj. chew·er n. [usu. in combination] a tobacco-chewer.